Ambulance drivers riot over low wages

In Novosibirsk, ambulance drivers reported low wages. Ambulance drivers on the right bank complained about small salaries . On the left bank, the situation with earnings is, surprisingly, a little better

Ambulance drivers of the State Budgetary Institution NSO “Medtrans”, which serves the right bank of Novosibirsk, complained about low wages, a lack of spare parts and equipment for repairing cars. According to workers, their earnings have remained virtually unchanged over the past 10 years.

And the constantly declared wage increases are being reduced to naught due to changes in various allowances – the final figure that ambulance drivers receive in their hands has remained at the same level for many years. The indignant workers were supported by the trade union “Profmedtrans”, the activists of which began to be summoned to the director, and from the trade union itself, while its chairman was on vacation, the premises were taken away.

NGS correspondent Ilya Kalinin listened to both sides of the conflict, carefully studied the payroll of the workers and found strange moments there.

Than ambulance drivers are unhappy

The drivers of the State Budgetary Institution NSO “Medtrans” claim that their salaries have not changed much since 2012. At the same time, there is an injustice: drivers of ambulances working on the left bank, for some reason, receive more than drivers who drive along the right bank. For the “right-bank” people, the monthly income, after deducting all taxes, varies between 25-27 thousand rubles. This is earnings for an average monthly rate of about 180 hours: the rate depends on the number of weekends and holidays. A higher salary is obtained if the driver processes the average monthly rate.

As the drivers explain, the right bank of the city is served by the Medtrans institution, the left – by an enterprise called Medtrans-3 (previously there were two state budgetary institutions on the right bank, but they were merged). “Medtransy” – budget-funded institutions that manage the fleet of ambulances. Ambulance doctors belong to a different structure. The situation when drivers and ambulance doctors are employed in different departments, as one of the Medtrans employees explained to the NGS, has already been corrected in some regions of the country – all are employees of the same structure, but in Novosibirsk everything is still the same.

“That’s why they don’t pay us for class. They used to pay. And this is 15-25% of the salary. It turns out that we, the drivers, do not belong either to the Ministry of Transport or the Ministry of Health. We are just hired workers who are rented by an ambulance along with the cars, ”says an employee of Medtrans.

All the drivers in conversation with the NGS gave their names and surnames, but asked not to voice them in the article – they are afraid of persecution by the management ..

Serious complaints from drivers and to the availability of auto parts with a repair base. The technical equipment, says Antonina Kravchenko, chairman of the board of the Profmedtrans trade union, leaves much to be desired: there are not enough parts, not enough equipment for diagnostics and repair of cars.

– The eternal shortage of spare parts … All equipment is from the time of Peter the Great. We have already gone through all the circles of hell: the labor inspection, and the prosecutor’s office, and the presidential office in the Siberian Federal District … Everywhere they wrote about salaries and technical equipment. To no avail, says Antonina Kravchenko.

One of the ambulance drivers of the State Budgetary Institution NSO “Medtrans”, in a conversation with the NGS, noticed that now he was just going to go to a car shop to look for the necessary part.

– At the moment, all cars can be delivered and not released for the flight. We simply do not have rubber. We actually drive through garbage dumps and collect rubber: someone finds a wheel at a tire changer, someone removes a wheel from old decommissioned cars. If something breaks down on trifles, then we buy it ourselves. Right now the tension roller … The bearing whistled – I went to buy. Costs under a thousand rubles. You have to take it with your own money. And no one will compensate for these expenses, the driver complains.

What is written in the calculations and documents of the Ministry of Health

In support of their words, the drivers of “Medtrans” showed pay sheets for different years. The earliest is dated November 2012. Then the driver of Medtrans worked 184.5 hours and received 24,800 rubles after tax deductions (we specially rounded up the amounts to an even number and removed from the documents all data that could indicate a specific employee in order to exclude possible persecution of these persons).

The most recent payroll is for July 2021. Then one of the drivers worked 193 hours a month and received 29,100 rubles “clean”. The salary for almost all sheets for other years fit, depending on the hours worked, in the range from 22 to 28 thousand rubles. For comparison, the drivers of the ambulances of “Medtrans” showed pay sheets and their colleagues from “Medtrans-3” (this is the left bank). The figures of another state budgetary institution are indeed slightly higher – there ambulance drivers earn more than 30 thousand rubles.

When studying the pay sheets, one can draw attention to the strangeness: in different years, among the positions with accruals, individual surcharges appeared and disappeared. The drivers, together with the chairman of the trade union council, are talking about this, they say, with statements about the increase in salaries, certain positions on additional payments were changed. Perhaps this allowed wages to remain at about the same level, despite the announced “increase”.

The strange changes to the payroll are shown in our spreadsheet (see below). For example, in some periods additional payments to drivers for washing cars disappeared from the calculations of Medtrans, although the washing remained. The surcharge for harm and the premium for quality appeared and disappeared. Moreover, it would seem that the structure of payroll in different state budgetary institutions should be the same, but the additional payment for harm for ambulance drivers from the right bank is indicated as 6%, and for drivers on the left bank – 10%.

At some point, the employees of Medtrans ceased to have a graph of bonus accruals, although the quarterly bonus is present in the calculations of their colleagues from the left bank. Again, in the pay slips of Medtrans-3 there is a line “increase in the salary of an ambulance driver by 8%,” and in the salaries of Medtrans employees there is no such position at all.

Finally, in December 2020, the drivers of Medtrans got the line “extra pay for work on weekends”: in earlier periods it is not there, just as it is not in the salary structure of Medtrans-3 employees. However, in April and June 2021, for some reason, no charges for this position were indicated in the documents shown by Medtrans drivers. In a conversation with the NHS, the ambulance driver called this surcharge strange.

– In general, no one knows where it came from. How can we pay extra if we work on a shift schedule? There is no such thing anywhere else. There are holidays, but the “weekend” column is not. We all work on weekends one way or another. But even if we count Saturdays and Sundays, the clock does not coincide there, ”the man wonders.

But the most important misunderstanding among workers is the calculation of points, which affect the final salary. In budgetary organizations, points are awarded for improved performance and may be deducted for violations. One point, according to drivers, is now estimated at more than 600 rubles.

How many points were awarded before and how many are being awarded now – can be seen from the Regulations on the remuneration of workers of the State Budgetary Institution NSO “Medtrans”. Copies of the documents are available in the edition of the NGS.

According to the regulation on remuneration, signed in 2017 by the ex-Minister of Health of the NSO Oleg Ivaninsky, the employee was awarded 21.1 points every month, but the maximum could be received 47.1 points. And according to the same document, signed in 2019 by the Minister of Health of the NSO, Konstantin Khalzov, 13.5 points are awarded per month, with the maximum possible indicator of 24.3 points.

Points for the absence of excessive fuel consumption, the absence of complaints from passengers for the quality of work and adherence to the principles of ethics, experience of working as an ambulance driver and work in excess of the norm have disappeared from the updated document.

How the union was kicked out of the premises

The next day after the NGS correspondent sent an inquiry about the situation to the Novosibirsk Ministry of Health, the director of the State Budgetary Institution NSO Medtrans Alexander Leontyev came to the chairman of the council of the trade union “Profmedtrans” for a conversation.

– He started yelling, saying that he wanted to get rid of me in the first month … That I undermined his image by contacting a reporter. He, of course, was very upset, – the chairman of the trade union retells his version of the conversation.

Soon, Antonina Kravchenko went on a planned vacation, and during this period she was sent a written notice of the need to vacate the office.

– It says that in order to improve the information of drivers, it is necessary to vacate the office occupied by the trade union committee. They want to conduct wage consultations for drivers there. Instead of this office, they propose to move to Zalessky, 6. This is on the territory of the city hospital. And now the trade union is located on Olga Zhilina street, 25, next to the infectious diseases hospital. And now, under a plausible pretext, they move us further away. But in fact, eight substations gather in our center: all the drivers come here, because here is the director, and the personnel department, and the dispatch office, here they take tickets … And when the drivers have any questions, they come to me … And now, it turns out, as if they want to interrupt our communication, – says Antonina Kravchenko.

Also, according to the woman, trade union activists began to be summoned to the director.

In addition to the eviction of the trade union from the premises and personal conversations between the director and the trade union activists, some drivers have already been removed 4.5 points (about 3,000 rubles) for discrepancies between the readings on the speedometer and the “Glonass” ambulances installed in the ambulance.

– They are depriving everyone who has at least a kilometer in the discrepancy. And the men got through to the standardization center, now they are preparing a written request, so they were told there that “Glonass” is not a measuring device, but can only determine the location of the car and the approximate mileage. And there one had in a month the difference between the speedometer and “Glonass” almost 15 kilometers, so he was deprived of 3700 rubles. And he wrote a statement even earlier that his speedometer was junk and asked to do a verification, but he was refused, – says Antonina Kravchenko.

Management version

The director of the State Budgetary Institution NSO “Medtrans” Alexander Leontyev claims that the drivers of his organization receive on average more than 25 thousand rubles.

– Let’s look at the average for the year: if you take the annual salary, subtract personal income tax and divide by 12, you get 32-34-35 thousand. They get more than the industry average. Now, if they felt bad, then, believe me, they would have gone somewhere. But they don’t go anywhere. And the one who leaves, then comes back. I always try to parry with numbers. Take 2018: an hour of work cost 94 rubles 18 kopecks, in 2020 an hour of work cost 126 rubles 19 kopecks, in 2021 it was even more expensive. The salary is growing, – explains the director of Medtrans. Moreover, according to him, there are two “bread” months – January and May, when drivers receive 50-60 thousand rubles each due to numerous holidays.

Alexander Leontyev emphasizes that the allowances remain – no one canceled them. But for a specific example about the additional payment for seniority that disappeared in 2019, the manager answers as follows:

– I cannot say for 2019, because I have been here since December 30 last year. But then it turned out that they changed the position on remuneration. And, roughly speaking, they removed it somewhere … But you understand that they could not reduce it. That is, their salary has not decreased. They [the drivers] are lying. Moreover, they are cunning due to the fact that sometimes wishful thinking is passed off. In view of their, say, level of development.

According to the head of Medtrans, the problem is not in salaries: different pay slips must be compared correctly. It is necessary, according to Alexander Leontyev, to take into account holiday hours, night hours, weekends, and so on. The problem, the director is convinced, is in the specific head of the trade union – Antonina Kravchenko.

– In general, I have three trade unions on the territory: there is a STK, there are no membership fees. There is a trade union of the Ministry of Health. And there is a trade union created at the enterprise of Kravchenko Antonina Sergeevna. Contributions are deducted there. And she is constantly engaged in opposing herself to the administration, setting up the drivers and knocking them out. In order for more people to come to her and deduct 1% of their salaries, – said the head of Medtrans.

The alternative trade union STK (Union of the Labor Collective) appeared in 2018 under the former director. The workers say that this union was created ostensibly for the formal coordination of orders from the Medtrans management.

The chairman of the trade union from the Novosibirsk Ministry of Health (the full name is the Novosibirsk regional organization of the trade union of healthcare workers of the Russian Federation) Vladimir Trubin told the NGS that their organization includes 15 people from Medtrans. And the head of the STK Dmitry Likhovoy noted that they are not a trade union, but “a public organization created to solve topical issues,” and it does not compete with trade unions. In STK, Likhova specified, there are eight members.

The trade union, headed by Antonina Kravchenko, now has about 200 members.

– Believe me, I stand on the side of the drivers. I am trying to increase the salary, I am trying to improve the financial situation of the enterprise. I agree that the salary is low. I agree that 32,579 rubles is average, and this is not enough. I completely agree with this. But if we take other industries … I do not think that the driver gets more in the NGS, – says the director of Medtrans.

According to the director, there are no problems with spare parts and equipment for repairs either. And the drivers do not buy anything for their money. “It wasn’t like that when I was there,” says Alexander Leontiev.

– Why has the problem become acute this year? Because in April I introduced the Glonass system, thanks to which I save budget money about 1.5 million a month. That is, this is money that drivers used to pour into their pockets. There were additions in kilometers. Roughly speaking, we have stopped theft. I think that about an average of 2,500 rubles each driver put into his pocket every month with fuel and lubricants. Someone more, someone less. From August 1, I began to punish for theft by deprivation of points, – says Alexander Leontyev.

The director also explained why ambulance drivers, when it comes to ordinary ambulance, non-specialized covid teams, do not receive coronavirus allowances:

– The driver sits in the car, and the doctor goes up to the patient, therefore, contacts the patient. And the driver doesn’t carry a stretcher, he just sits behind the wheel.

If the driver gets sick at work with covid and this is confirmed, then, according to the director of Medtrans, he will be paid the insurance amount – 68 thousand rubles.

Aleksandr Leontyev explained the eviction of the trade union from the premises by the fact that the organization occupied the previous room actually illegally (without a corresponding order), and moved it even to a larger room.

– We turned to Antonina Sergeevna, got a complete understanding from her … She agreed, says: “It’s okay, I agree.” I had eight accountants in one office. And I can’t transplant accounting far from all accounting. Therefore, we decided to put the settlement group in this room, – explains the director.

Regarding the information that the trade union activists are being summoned “on the carpet,” the director explained that he could not confirm or deny this, since he did not remember whether it was or not.

The official response of the Novosibirsk Ministry of Health

The NHS sent a request to the regional Ministry of Health. The answer came over the signature of Minister Konstantin Khalzov:

– The salaries of ambulance drivers of the State Budgetary Institution NSO “Medtrans” are constantly increasing. An employee’s salary is established by an employment contract in accordance with the current remuneration system of his employer. In 2018, the structure of wages of employees of the State Budgetary Institution NSO “Medtrans” was brought in line with the current labor legislation. Information about the exclusion of incentive allowances from the structure of wages of workers of this organization does not correspond to reality.

The response also stated that “the purchase of spare parts for cars of the State Budgetary Institution NSO” Medtrans-3 “is carried out on the basis of applications through procurement procedures”, although the question about the procurement of an institution serving the left bank was not asked at all.

But what was not in the official response was an explanation: is there a difference in the cost of an hour of work of drivers of different state budgetary institutions – Medtrans and Medtrans-3 (the head of the trade union called this indicator a “state order hour”). Also, the situation in 2019 was not commented on, when the minister Konstantin Khalzov and his deputy, Alexander Kolupaev, had already come to deal with the drivers dissatisfied with the salary.

In April 2021, the NGS made a photo report of the city’s ambulance substations literally falling apart. And in July, an ambulance paramedic and chairman of the primary organization of the Action trade union in Novosibirsk, Sergei Komlev, explained why townspeople have to wait for an ambulance for days.

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